10 November 2021
The American marriage landscape is a nasty swamp.
Whenever we mention marriage and the Covenant of Christ, we find there's probably not one in a hundred marriages among believers that even comes near the Covenant boundaries. There's enough blame to go around, but on this blog the emphasis is mostly on the vast gulf between the Covenant and where must churchians stand. It's obvious that today's American culture is awful, and we aren't surprised. We won't offer any advice to Americans at large. They won't take it, anyway. Rather, we have a bone to pick with people who claim Christ. They have no excuse.
Stop and think about it: The provisions of the Covenant come into play when you consciously and publicly embrace it. Claiming Christ as your Savior should start things, but a public profession of Christ as your Lord seldom includes the actual Covenant of Christ. Thus, I can't do much to help churchians seize the blessings of the Covenant until they realize there is such a thing, and what it demands of them. The demands and the blessings are in the same package.
As always: If you aren't consciously committed to the Covenant, then you aren't actually following Christ.
The vast majority of people coming under the Covenant have already been married at least once. There's a very high probability that their current romantic attachments are not a blessed covenant marriage. So, it looms as some of the hardest work in a new believer's life redeeming things. It's a lot of pastoral counseling and all kinds of therapeutic teaching. The honest sad truth is that most of these relationships will never be fully healed. One partner cannot compel the other to walk in the Covenant with a heart-borne commitment. Even when both do embrace the Covenant, they still might not be a good match. The New Testament warns that it's a tough future for the covenant believer.
If nobody else will say this, let me: I'm really very sorry, but the harsh truth is that God didn't leave much flexibility in the Covenant regarding marriage. Everything rests on having a covenant community background in the first place, before you pair up for marriage. And Scripture is quite plain about the truth that you can't go back and do this over. You get one shot at seizing the full covenant blessings when it comes to marriage, and most of you have already blown past that before you ever come to the Covenant.
That's not to say things can't be still pretty good. The New Testament advises you to stick it out and see what kind of miracles our Lord can do with what you already have. If that's a really bad idea in your case, your convictions will tell you. Unlike some bad doctrine in some churches, I won't tell you that divorce is a sin. It does not cripple you from serving Him, but it will be a source of temptation later if you aren't strong enough to walk alone. It's the part where most people marry someone else that it becomes defiling.
Keep in mind that the issue of defilement is paralleled with a very real change in human wiring. Your body imprints on your first sex partner, and that simply cannot be undone. Every subsequent sex partner dilutes the pleasure itself, and the sense of satisfaction fades. If you pair up with the wrong person your first time, your body will fight you ever after.
You see, your personal romantic and sexual fulfillment isn't a Kingdom priority. Your human existence isn't that important. Contentment is supposed to be a side-effect of obeying the Lord. If you get too far ahead of Him on this issue, you'll take the wrong path and there's no coming back. You can still be fulfilled in other ways, but your proper focus is not what He does for you, but how you can glorify His name. That's always in everyone's best interest, no matter what other blessings they might receive. If your convictions don't give you a passion to sacrifice everything for His glory, then something is really missing in the first place.
For those not yet hitched, let me warn you: This is a very bad time in American history for getting married. That's not to say, "Don't do it!" That's to say you need to give long prayer and contemplation to the whole idea. As noted in the first paragraph above, it's a toxic swamp here in America right now. Just how likely is it that will you find a prospective partner who even understands the Covenant, much less is committed to it? Men, the vast majority of American women are deluded and idolatrous, incapable of forming a covenant attachment (and church women are the worst). Ladies, your chances are slightly better, but still not very good.
How many people out there have their hearts set on standing up a clear community testimony of shalom? How many people have a full grasp of just how insignificant we are, and that all our resources belong to the task of establishing a moral culture that won't bear much fruit for another generation or two? How many of you understand that this is our situation in the stream of history? It's not that you won't be blessed for putting your hand to clearing the impediments that prevent plowing the ground. By all means, your personal commitment to the Covenant today will begin to bear some fruit; God will certainly encourage you. But the vast majority of what He promised is simply not available without at least a couple of generations of people learning to walk in conviction and remaining separate from the damned society around them.
We are not starting in a good place. The sins of our forefathers have really loaded us up with a massive job here. If spreading the Covenant gospel is like planting seed in a plowed field, then we are confronted by a forest with boulders everywhere. The amount of work for us is beyond what flesh could even imagine. But if we don't start, then we aren't listening to the Spirit of God. This is His project, and we are privileged to be included.
This bit of parable might help you see why marriage prospects are so messed up right now. We simply are not in a position to see what mighty blessings God can provide for marriages, unless we stumble across that rare couple who started out under the Covenant. Most of us will have to live out our lives in damaged situations that may never be healed. Learn to accept your situation and trust the Lord to work it out. However, the real mission will always be His glory. We have a long way to go, and we really need to get started.
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